It was recently announced that Ron Dennis of McLaren will be rotating his grand prix staff as of next year due to the lack of a three week summer break. In previous seasons, 2008 inclusive, Formula One had been allowed a mid-season three week break, allowing those that travel with the teams a chance to take some time off and relax away from the pressures of work. However, the proposed 2009 calendar omits this break and the teams are concerned.
The main concern is burning out the staff, and Dennis has said that he will accommodate this by hiring more personnel and will rotate them. Dennis stated that his employees will not be expected to attend every race of the year. However, as mentioned in my previous article, this adds a burden of cost to the teams. This in itself goes against the FIA’s bid to reduce costs in the future and make Formula One more accessible for lesser-funded operations.
This break is absolutely essential for all the people who travel. They don’t get the right amount of time with their families and this gives them an opportunity to have at least one week where they are not at the office or workshop. Ron Dennis.
The proposed 2009 season starts at the end of March and goes right through to mid-Novemeber, with the maximum time between two races being the standard two weeks. This prompted the team bosses to discuss the issue in the Valencia paddock last weekend and they have decided to try and reshuffle the schedule to allow a break somewhere in the middle of the year. The teams know very well about the logistics of ferrying staff and equipment around the world and thus are in the best position to decide how to the plan the season.
We seem to have a long break at the beginning of the season and no summer break. There should be more discussion to optimise the race schedule in terms of the burden to the teams. John Howett.
Initially the teams suggested bringing the Australian Grand Prix forward to an earlier weekend in March, but Bernie Ecclestone rubbished that idea because he wants the race after the clocks change, thus bringing it closer to the daytime for his beloved European viewers. Another idea would be to move all the flyaways to later in the year. Perhaps start the season in Europe (or Bahrain/Abu Dhabi) in early-March, then fly away to Asia and Australia in early-April. At the moment though, the teams are apparently trying to squeeze in a break around Germany/Hungary/Turkey time. If the proposed-calendar changes, BlogF1 will of course post an update and alter the calendar page.
Humph, I hate it when there’s no GP for 3 weeks so for entirely selfish reasons I really hope they don’t find a way of reshuffling things!! 😉
I think I said in the “Will McLaren Be Disadvantaged” post that losing the three week break was great for the fans, but not so for the teams. I too prefer to not have any long breaks between races. But then, I too am selfish and also come from a generation that remembers when there was no summer holiday. And I absolutely hated the three week break they put between rounds 1 and 2 in 2007. That did my head in.
Having said all that, it does allow us F1-bloggers to squeeze in a proper holiday as well if we so desire! 🙂 Swings and roundabouts, I guess. I don’t understand why the season can’t go until the end of November, thus allowing time for a summer vacation mid-season and a shorter off-season.
I’m not sure why they’re starting the season so late at the end of March – they could just move the start back three weeks and then slot in the gap to give the required break.I myself wasn’t too keen on having to wait 3 weeks for my fix but at least this time there was the Olympics to make up for it!
@francois: Bernie wants the season to start later in March so in Europe, when the clocks have gone back an hour, the start of the race will be one hour closer to regular awake-time for us. It doesn’t help those on the other side of the planet, but Bernie is Bernie and this is his strategy at the moment.
I’ve spoken about this in several posts on this blog and others, but if the teams want to keep the 3-week break and put it in around where it is currently, this can be done with ease. More permanent steps should be taken to expand the schedule and keep the break at the same time in the future, but for this season….
1. Start the season one or two weeks earlier, and in order to keep Bernie’s time zone fix happy….
2. Make Bahrain the season-opener, as was done in 2006, thus making the GP availabale to European audiences at a good viewing time.
3. Go to the Australian flyaway two weeks later, as was also done in 2006.
4. Put the break in around where it is on this year’s setup.
5. Finally, Bernie should pick up the phone to Indiana and get the USGP back on the scheudle for 2009- a different argument entirely, but one that can clearly be resolved for 2009 if everyone wants to still make major changes such as the ones proposed here.